Retro Revival

So, I took in my first Retro event this weekend, and it has kick started the desire that first caused me to create a blog!

Since starting the blog, I have been caught up training to be a teacher, undertaking a summer job as an NCS team leader, as well as having to deal with the fall out of the shitty side of my parents divorce.

However walking round a convention room in Wolverhampton (on my 32nd birthday no less) has really revived my enthusiasm for everything, not just retro gaming.

Next week I have a full week, I am studying for my QTS skills test (numeracy) which I take Wednesday, however following that I am going to go on another tour of Sheffield’s charity and retro shops.

Full report will follow!

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Save is corrupt…please reset

Firstly an apology, been far too long since I made a post, just wanted to come back and put a quick note on (more as a kick up the arse for myself) to say that an update will be coming at the weekend, specifically on my time spent at Games Britannia at the weekend, and my thoughts and an update on my performance in the classic gaming championships, Sheffield Heat.

Stay tuned!

Out of credits…insert to continue

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After 39 years the marriage of my parents has apparently run out of coins to be used for extra credits at the “continue now” screen. The relevance that this has on a predominantly games oriented blog is that it required me to drive the 100 miles down the M1 to my Mum’s house, in an attempt to begin helping to empty some of the many belongings I abandoned there, originally leaving in “the year 2000” (feel free to imagine that in a sci fi voice) to go to University at the tender age of 18, and only briefly returning between 2004 for around 11 months, when I lived in what I can only describe as an amalgamated room that was part my stuff, part my brothers, who had also fled and never returned and had lead to two previously child filled rooms being made into one room of almighty crap and one home office.

 

This weekend started and ultimately ended in the loft, growing up I have always been envious of anyone that had one of those impressively cool “Hollywood” movie style lofts that seemed spacious and well lit, with a pull down ladder. Evidently as a child I was clearly a fucking idiot to have hoped that a former council house in Corby would ever hold such a loft, the loft in question is somewhere I dread going, a torturous hellhell of a space that existed long before Guantanamo bay and water boarding became all the rage in torturous hellholes.

 

The loft space itself is accessed by an impossibly small hatch, that requires you to position a ladder dangerously close to the top of the stairs, the loft was originally nothing but beams, although I was made to lay some boards out at the age of 15 so we could slide storage crates and suitcases onto them, there is no light what so ever. Even light from the hall below the hatch for some reason doesn’t make it into the loft, stopping at the hatch itself as if it can sense it has no place beyond it, and so you have to work with what ever you take up there (this Saturday it was my iPhone and built in torch). The loft is also impossibly hot regardless of the actual weather or temperature of the house, that heat is topped off by it being full of poorly cut fiberglass insulation that gets everywhere and sticks to everything it touches.

 

However it was crawling around in this scarecrow-from-batman-like-inner-nightmare that I stumbled across the evidence of a gamer past you will see in the photos, as far as I was aware there was nothing at home other than my NES, however what I found was far more interesting, a box of loosely purchased Sega Saturn Magazines, a couple of tips books for the Snes and Mega Drive, and a whole barrage of predominantly empty boxes for games that I don’t remember keeping the boxes for. In addition to this I found a smallish stash of tips and guide booklets that you used to get with Official Nintendo magazine, and a copy of Xmas 1996 Edge Magazine, that features a preview of Mario Kart and reviews inside of the original Tomb Raider.

 

Even to this day I consider myself a games player rather than collector, I never used to keep Nintendo games boxes because they were card and the carts themselves were plastic, regrettable for the games current pricing I admit but that’s how I was, I wouldn’t not buy a retro game I wanted to play purely because of the condition of the box or a lack of a box and instruction and find the people who collect sealed games or games just to add to their collection slightly odd, however finding so many boxes was actually quite a nice surprise. In total I find the original boxes to my:

 

Amigia CD32

Sega Saturn

Mega Drive and Mega CD

Dreamcast

Gamecube

Xbox NTSC machine

 

Again all devices I couldn’t remember saving the boxes for.

 

I never thought that one of my most surprising retro finds would be stuff from my own previous house, once I have had a chance I will post up some screens from the magazines that I find interesting. Although I am actually excited about getting to have a look through the Saturn magazine stuff.

 

Sheffield Charity Shops – where old football games go to die…

Buoyed on by the readings of what others had found in charity shops, I set off on a voyage round Sheffield’s charity shops in search of retro treasure, hoping to find some good ps2/xbox or ps1 games ideally.

 

What I instead found was a copy of Football manager in all but one of the places we entered! Charity shops it seemed were the graveyard of fifa’s and Pro Evo’s of yesteryear. The search of just over 12 shops proved entirely fruitless, I came close to buying a copy of Toca Touring car 2, but felt that I was ultimately buying this for the sake of buying something.

 

Luckily I had taken a friend with me who was on a quest to find Vinyl, and find it he did. I was blown away by the amount of good music to be had in the charity stores. Picking up about 15 albums as we made our way two and fro.

 

I long for an age when Charity shops and the like offer as good a selection towards gaming as they do vinyl, however I am realistic that I don’t think that day will ever arrive.

 

On Sunday I am venturing to a car boot sale to see if I can have any more luck with spotting some items worth browsing. I would like to point out that I am not after rare or valuable items being un wittedly sold for the price of an 05/06 copy of Football manager (that will cost you a quid by the way!) However am merely after an opportunity to have a look and hold some retro items prior to buying, which ebay will never be able to offer.

 

In parting, I leave you with a message to Evan Phillips, whoever you are. St Luke’s up Woodseats have your personalised cover of Football manager 09. I can only imagine this was taken from you by force, as no one would go to the effort of ordering the game from Sega’s online store to get their name printed on the cover professionally, to then discard it like some cheap yearly update…

Sega Rally – Sega Saturn

Chrismas 1995 saw me rushing downstairs to unwrap something I was very excited about, at the age of 14 I hadn’t been so geared up for present opening in quite a while, having picked out the Sega Saturn from my Mum’s “Kay’s catalogue” I had eagerly anticipated the day when it came time to play on it.

 

I would later learn that the Saturn only came with a scart lead, however a “pre-check” by my Dad (good old Dad!) had apparently spotted this faux-pas from Sega and a quick trip to Dixon’s had cured this, why this was in the bundle I don’t know as it would be years before myself or anyone I knew would have need of a scart cable let alone know what one was.

 

The machine itself was hastily assembled in my bedroom, the scart cable strew aside (and ultimately lost as years later I would have to buy a new one) the 2nd pad was left in its box, mainly as my elder brother was no where to be seen, and the machine was fired up, for the first time I would hear the iconic chiming as the blue and grey loading screen greeted me as the reward for having correctly pressed the power button.

 

Among the games I received that day, I remember playing Command & Conquer first. Having been impressed when playing it on the pc at a friends I was delighted to begin playing the Nod campaign as my friend wouldn’t anyone play as them (sadly I can’t elaborate on this, he just wouldn’t!), however it was part way through the day when I decided to try the Sega Flash Volume 1 demo disc, that the decision on what to spend the money I had acquired as part of your tradionational teenage Christmas (when Family members you have rarely seen since childhood don’t even pretend to know you enough to send an actual gift) when we visited the shops on boxing day, was made, and my dislike of car games changed forever.

 

Sega Rally “Forest” stage soon loaded, I am sketchy on the detail but I believe that you could choose either of the two cars the game offered and either manual or automatic set up. Pretty much the only choices that the games offers up, for this game was no attempt at being a realistic racer, it was full out arcade and unashamedly so. Having grown up in the East Midlands, in a town famous for not having a cinema or a train station, I had never played or even seen the arcade version, so the staggering pace at which the forest was now ripping past was reason enough to silence the doubters over my choice of Christmas console. I played that demo stage over and over again, and then spent the next day being driven around by my Father until I found the game in stock, and on Boxing day in the mid 90’s, a love affair began, one that would still be going on close to 20 years later.

 

Sega Rally to my mind, was the finest game the Saturn produced, tragically so when you considered how early into it’s life it was released, personally I don’t think there is a better game on the Dreamcast neither, not even the sequel which I personally feel is worse due to it’s inclusion of options and extras that the first doesn’t even attempt.

 

2 cars (the bonus 3rd car is a joke) 3 tracks (again the “bonus” track is a joke) however the utterly refined handling and course design means that you will constantly be trying to get the better of the tracks, and push your time lower and lower. The CPU A.I cars may as well not be there, they react to what you do in no way, shape or form, never deviating from their scalextic rigid path unless you crash into them, however they never really feel like someone you are trying to beat or care about beating, the way you do the clock and the “best time” counter.

 

Sega Rally was a marvel of a game, an all too early pinnacle of the series and the console itself, there would always be talk of Sega Rally vs Ridge Racer from certain sectors and people, however as a good a game as Ridge Racer was at the time, it faded and lost it’s appeal in a manner that Rally never did, to this day people spotting the Saturn at mine still always ask about Sega Rally and then want a go, and to this day you can visually see parts of their brain coming back to life and remembering “long easy right, medium left” as soon as it starts. The fact that the console went on to produce so few genuine hits is what makes Sega Rally all the more endearing, even it’s would be beater, Sega Touring Car, didn’t come close to matching what it was about.

 

So sit back, and let me take you on a rid through Sega Rally. The idea behind this blog was to play the games “dry”, after years of not playing them, however that isn’t likely to make a difference as I am fairly certain I could talk you through each and every course due to how much time I spent on each.

Welcome to the site!

Welcome to “more than a game”, a blog/video site in which we will be exploring video games that have made an impact on me, or that I just feel have been fun and made some kind of impression on me. I read lots of stuff about historically important games, however what is often missing from it is a personal or emotional stance. I am fond of some quite frankly terrible games (mechanically) but my reverence for them is usually because of other reasons, such as; the people I played them with, the time in my life when I played them, or just because they are from a time when I would actually trade or borrow games off friends, many of which you had never heard of and so would play them to competition as we are talking pre internet!

 

If a game has made you smile, laugh, cry or throw the pad down in anger then it is worth the time to say why I would argue.

 

Thanks for listening, and hopefully see you around.

 

big mean bunny – morethanagame